This week CrashPlan announced they were ending consumer services, so I had to replace it with something else. Backups are one of those things at the unpleasant intersection of tedious, difficult, and important.
A quick spin around the latest alternatives showed the usual spectrum of possibilities, ranging from perl hackers implementing rsync themselves, to slick consumer tools. I need to have something working well not just on my computer, but others in my family, so I went the consumerish route.
One thing I always struggle with: how to ensure my stuff is backed up, without needlessly copying around all the crap that ends up in my home directory that I don’t need backed up. On a Mac, the ~/Library directory has all sorts of stuff that I think I don’t need to copy around. Do I need these?:
- Library/Application Support
I add these directories to the exclusions. Should my Dropbox folder get backed up? Isn’t that what Dropbox is already doing?
Then as a developer, there’s tons more to exclude. Running VirtualBox? You have have a 10Gb disk image somewhere under your home. I have something like 20,000 .pyc files. The .tox directory for coverage.py is 350Mb.
So I also exclude these:
Of course, as a native Mac app for consumers, Arq doesn’t provide a way that I can supply all these once, I have to fiddle with GUI + and - buttons, and enter them one at a time...
Lastly, some files don’t seem comfortable with backups. Thunderbird’s storage files are large, and while Arq copies only certain byte ranges, they still amount to about 300Mb each time. Should I even back up my email? Should I still be using Thunderbird? Too many uncertainties....